| May 15, 2019

It’s probably fair to say the most controversial aspect of North Frontenac’s new Zoning Bylaw has been the inclusion of the Palmerston Lake ANSI (Area of Natural or Scientific Interest).

To that end, Mayor Ron Higgins has been corresponding with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) trying to get to the bottom of why it was established in the first place.

ANSIs in Ontario come in three flavours — Provincial, Regional and Proposed. In the Frontenac County Official Plan, Provincial and Regional ANSIs are recognized, including the Palmerston Lake one.

In a report to Council, Higgins wrote: “The MNRF has advised the Palmerston Lake ANSI is regional; however, the issue is that the current Council and staff has not been able to acquire the historical information and supporting documentation from MNRF to adequately address the concerns of our residents and the Township itself.

“Provincially and Regional significant ANSIs are treated the same in the County Official Plan, whereas MNRF does not have the same restrictions for regionally as Provincially designated ANSIs.”

Higgins went on to say “this issue is a concern for our Township and residents as many wee unaware of the Palmerston Lake ANSI designations due to the omission of this requirement in past Official Plans and residents stating they were never involved in any consultations by MNRF at the time (other ANSIs were shown on the 2003 Official Plan).”

“They (MNRF) haven’t provided their justification for designating,” said Coun. Vern Hermer.

“I suggest we delay the procedures until the MNRF responds,” said Coun. John Inglis.

“There are other aspects of the bylaw people need,” said Higgins.

“Perhaps some amendment where ANSIs can be revisited,” said Coun. Fred Fowler.

“At the public meeting, the ANSIs will be on the map,” said Clerk-Planning Manager Tara Mieske. “But, it’s a draft.

“If, after the public meeting, Council decides to take the out, they can.”

Higgins said he’d work with the County to get its Official Plan amended.

Township to rescind firearms bylaw

Mayor Ron Higgins said he’d received two complaints concerning the discharge of firearms in the Township and so the Township’s firearms bylaw was on the table at Friday’s regular meeting in Plevna, complete with a series of amendments.

However, there didn’t seem to be much support for the way things were worded.

“It’s too encompassing, too broad a brush,” said Coun. Gerry Martin. “This is going to prevent people from hunting ducks on Malcolm Lake.

“We’re up here in hill country (and) we’re hillbillies.”

Coun. Fred Fowler, himself a retired police officer, said that any complaints should be investigated by OPP officers and perhaps the noise bylaw applied.

“If there are charges to be laid, they’ll lay them,” he said.

CAO Cheryl Robson agreed.

“Why do we even have this bylaw?” she said. “It’s all covered under the Criminal Code, the Hunting Regulations or it’s just not our jurisdiction.”

“I recommend we rescind the whole bylaw,” said Coun. Vern Hermer.

And that’s just what they decided to do.

Council asked staff to bring back a bylaw rescinding the firearms bylaw next meeting.

Good Roads report

Public Works Manager Darwyn Sproule’s trip to the Good Roads Conference was informative, he told Council.

“The age of the ‘expert’ is declining,” he said. “There is so much information available.”

But, with all the advancements in electronic communication and information, there is a bit of a downside, he said.

“Complaints are now easier to make,” he said. “And, with email, they can be made faster, which means people can complain while they’re still angry whereas in the past, they had to take time to write a letter, giving them an opportunity to calm down.”

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